Book groups.

Author:Heldt, Sue
Position:Stanley Lane Book Group

What makes your book group unique?

Our Stanley Lane Book Group is unique because it consists of only two members. Although we have been neighbors for over 18 years, it took us that long to realize we were both enthusiastic readers and wanted to discuss our book selections. We attempted to design our group to include neighbors in our cul-de-sac; however, for a number of reasons, we decided to forge ahead on our own. Since our origin in September 2012, we have read approximately 50 books, faced major surgery and ongoing cancer treatment, adapted to family unit changes, and remained loyal and dedicated to our book discussions.


How is your group organized and how do you select books?

Because of the changing routine of work in the medical field and our chemotherapy schedule, we are flexible as to when we meet, although we are committed to our monthly discussion. We meet at noon, have a light lunch with a generous glass of wine, and then settle in to discuss one or more books. We use discussion questions from a variety of Web sites, delve into the books' topics, and add insight into the topics from our own lives. We select books primarily from those reviewed and discussed in Bookmarks magazine. We diligently study the New Books Guides, the Author Profiles, and Bookmarks Selections. We constantly stretch ourselves as readers, and our selections have ranged from Regency novels (P. D. James's Death Comes to Pemberly) to murder mysteries (13 1/2 by Nevada Barr) to literary fiction (Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child). We are open to a variety of genres and are not afraid to tackle topics or areas of the world unfamiliar to us. One of our first reads was Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

What books have led to the best discussions?

In retrospect, we have had vivid discussions on books about other cultures and lifestyles. We have gained insight into others' cultures through our reading of Gang of One: Memoirs of a Red Guard by Fan Shen, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, Bruised Hibiscus by Elizabeth Nunez, The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak, and Salvage the...

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